A pool boiler emitting carbon monoxide at the Residence Inn on Tuesday night led to an evacuation of the hotel and hospitalization of two boys.
“I don’t know exactly when the boys were released from the hospital, but they were out by the next afternoon,” said Fire Marshal Karola Hanks of the Durango Fire Protection District.
The Durango Police Department helped Durango Fire evacuate the 29 rented rooms, and the owners of the Residence Inn moved them at the inn’s expense to Holiday Inn Express, Homewood Suites and the Fairfield Inn & Suites.
“Some staff members said they had headaches, but there were no other serious symptoms,” Hanks said. “We did have professionals come in and evaluate all the fuel-fired appliances at the Residence Inn, and they narrowed it down to the pool boiler. Kids are more sensitive to carbon monoxide, and the boys had been playing in the pool area, where the carbon monoxide numbers were higher.”
The gas was disconnected from the boiler Wednesday, and the inn was allowed to take lodgers at that point, although they waited until Thursday to make sure all the carbon monoxide had cleared, Hanks said. The owners intend to replace the entire boiler unit.
“They did have carbon monoxide detectors throughout the hotel, but unfortunately, the one in the pool area was defective,” she said.
The professionals who came in to check the hotel’s appliances rescheduled their workload to devote an entire day to the review, she said.
“And I was very pleased with the Residence Inn’s response to it and how they handled it,” Hanks said. “The owners said ‘Safety first,’ and there was no struggling to get them to help.”
Hanks recommends people with any fuel-driven appliances have carbon monoxide detectors in their homes or businesses and check them on a monthly basis.
“I’ve been finding they don’t have as consistent a lifespan as smoke detectors,” she said. “Carbon monoxide is a silent, deadly killer, and we know that.”